More “Helpful” E-Mails from the DOE

A friend of mine sent an e-mail regarding Andrea Rossi to the United States Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, in late October.  Of course Secretary Chu did not respond but a couple of his underlings did.  Some of the responses are what one would expect from the Department of Energy but some were a little surprising.  For example, DOE official Albert L. Opdenaker III states that he has spoken with NASA’s Dennis Bushnell about LENR in general and Andrea Rossi and the e-Cat in particular.  He reports that Mr. Bushnell told him what has been reported in other forums, namely that LENR IS REAL.  Curiously, Mr. Opdenaker states that he was told by Mr. Bushnell that it would take another “10-20 years of work to engineer Rossi’s ideas for performance.”  That would seem to conflict with Mr. Bushnell’s public statement in April when he stated “So I think this will go forward fairly rapidly now…  I am not sure in which parallel world something moving forward rapidly takes 10-20 years but, then again, I have never lived in Washington, D.C.   Well, actually, that is not true.  I did live there as a child but my parents moved me back to the real world before I internalized such interesting concepts as moving forward rapidly could take two decades or that having 20 paid lobbyists for every elected representative is perfectly appropriate in a democracy.

Mr. Opdenaker also suggested to my friend that if the Department of Energy were to review “cold fusion” again, which they previously reviewed in 1989 and 2004, “it is possible that a different outcome would result” and “perhaps the thing to do is to go out and buy a whole boatload of nickel futures!”  He also assured my friend that “I have been talking to people about what I have heard and what I know, but I am not able to arouse any interest in this subject at all.  I will keep trying to spread the word and get people here to take notice of this significant development.”

Being the trusting person I am, I will take Mr. Opdenaker at his word and  I honestly believe that he is walking around the United States Department of Energy crowing like a rooster about the revolutionary benefits of LENR, ignoring the snickers and ridicule of his bosses and coworkers all the while.  But, after a long holiday season away from the office, I am concerned that he may forget the message.  Luckily the correspondence with my friend (see below) does include both his e-mail address and phone number and perhaps we all need to call him or write him after the holidays and remind him to keep on task.  He also apparently has a very dutiful underling, a Shahida Afzal, who was kind enough to instruct my friend on how to use Google.  His e-mail is also included in the aforementioned correspondence and we should probably all remind him to remind Mr. Opdenaker to continue preaching the LENR Gospel at the Department of Energy.

No, none of this is the Plan X that Tom Baccei spoke about in his Bad JuJu piece.  He is still dutifully crafting his plan and it should be available for your perusal sometime this week.  My suggestions are just simple things people can do to stay engaged in the process.  If there is anything I have learned from the pathoskeps over the past year is that intellectual and well-reasoned arguments are not really necessary to get your point across, and that annoying repetition can be effective.  As the saying goes, “it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.”  If you make no other resolution this coming year, make sure you resolve to squeak a little this year for what you believe in.

Please note that my friend requested that his name not be plastered all over the Internet, so his name has been removed from these e-mails.  I am certain that Mr. Opdenaker and Mr. Afzal are aware of have a record of who this correspondence is from.  Their names being plastered all over the Internet is okay because they are public servants.

***

From: Afzal, Shahida [e-mail Shahida Afazal] On Behalf Of Opdenaker, Albert
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 9:59 AM
To: Mr. X
Subject: LENR

Dear Mr. X:

I have been asked to respond to your e-mail message to Secretary Chu dated October 27, 2011 in which you ask where you can find information about the work being done by Andrea Rossi of the University of Bologna.  The way I would recommend that you proceed to get information about the E-Cat device that has been designed and is being tested by Mr. Rossi is to go to the Google site (https://www.google.com/) on the Internet using your computer, enter “Andrea Rossi, E-Cat Device” into the search bar, and click “Enter.”  You will be given many, many sites that you can explore dealing with the topics that you mention in your message.

Regards,

Albert L. Opdenaker III
Office of Fusion Energy Sciences
Office of Science
US Department of Energy

***

From: Mr. X
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:15 PM
To: Opdenaker, Albert
Subject: RE: LENR

Dear Mr. Opdenaker III,

Thank you for your replying to my message. I apologize because I believe my question was not clear enough.

I have been following Andrea Rossi invention for the last two years  and I am pretty aware of the scope of his invention. This new type of energy will be replacing other types of energies like oil, gas, and electricity which means a big change all over the world and probably the end of the oil dependency.

My questions are: What is the US Department of Energy doing to help the American people with the development of this new product? What is the official position of the USA in Cold Fusion?

Thank you.

Mr. X

PD: Thank you for the Google instructions, It is good to know that someone in the Department of Energy knows how to use it.

***

From: Opdenaker, Albert [mailto:Albert.Opdenaker@science.doe.gov]
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 2:53 PM
To: Mr. X
Subject: RE: LENR

Dear Mr. X:

If I offended you by seeming to be talking down to you, I sincerely apologize.  I assure you that was not my intention.  I honestly thought you were asking how you could learn more about the E-cat device.  My experience is that few of the people who write to us asking about Rossi have not really learned very much about what he is doing so I was just trying to tell you how to learn more.  I am glad to hear that you have been following him and his work for two years.  I just learned about his work a couple of months ago, because, as you know, the mainstream media has not really been reporting on the E-cat device.  I was surprised when I came across some reports on the internet recently.

So let me try to answer your real question, but I will tell you from the start you will not like what I have to say.  I believe that I am correct in saying that the only official position taken by the Department with regards to “cold fusion” was expressed in the reports of the two peer review panels that were charged to review that subject in 1989 and 2004.  I have attached a short summary of the results of those two reviews even though I am fairly certain that you already know what the answer is.

I have to admit that much has happened in the field even since the 2004 review was held, and, if another review were held today, it is possible that a different outcome would result.  I do not pretend to speak for the whole Department or even for a small part of it.  I can tell you that until I started being assigned to answer questions like the one that you sent to Secretary Chu, I had no idea that things had been changing so much and so quickly in this field.  Even after I started doing some poking around to see what was happening with Rossi and friends, I was not too sure about the results being reported.  My change of mind was a direct result of talking with Dr. Dennis Bushnell, the Chief Scientist for NASA Langley who has assured me that over 100 experiments worldwide indicate that LENR is real, capable of producing energy much greater that chemical reactions, with minimal radiation, that theories indicate that what is happening is weak interactions, beta decay and NOT fusion of any kind.  Frankly, it does not seem to me to matter what we call it if it works and Bushnell says it does work.  He believes that the Rossi demonstrations suggest that LENR may produce “useful” quantities of heat, and what is needed is 10-20 years of work to engineer Rossi’s ideas for performance.

However, if Rossi has already sold more than 10 of the 1 Mw plants as I am reading on the net, and it turns out that the plants work, and Rossi’s customers are happy with them, I do not think that the DOE needs to get into the mix to convince people to buy a product that others have already bought and are wildly happy with.  It is just a matter of a short wait to see what is going to happen.

I have to admit that I am a bit worried by the old statement that if is seems too good to be true then it most likely is too good to be true.  The E-cat seems to fall into this category.  I am going to keep my fingers crossed and hope that this is going to work and solve our energy and global climate problems.  Perhaps the thing to do is to go out and buy a whole boatload of nickel futures!

I am unable to tell you when the DOE is going to take note of this development.  As of today, as far as I can tell, few people at DOE are aware of what is going on.  I have been talking to people about what I have heard and what I know, but I am not able to arouse any interest in this subject at all.  I will keep trying to spread the word and get people here to take notice of this significant development.

I hope that you too will try to spread the word about this happening!

Al Opdenaker
Fusion Energy Sciences
Office of Science
US Department of Energy
301-903-4941
[e-mail Albert Opdenaker]

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13 Responses to More “Helpful” E-Mails from the DOE

  1. NaN00 NaN00 says:

    Yeah brad you say “the proper route is to first manufacture working LENR generators that are then sold to the public” and thats exactly what he IS doing, we just get a sneak peek with the video demos.
    Since chemical has been ruled out thats concrete proof.

    • Brad Arnold says:

      From your mouth to God’s ears. Too bad people in general, and so-called energy experts specifically, can’t bring themselves to believe it. It took me months of intense lobbying to figure out the disconnect and to agree with Rossi’s first press conference last January (has it been that long?) when he said the time for words is over, and the only proof that will convince people is to successfully commercialize a LENR generator.

      In some ways it is rather flattering that Rossi’s stumbled upon a discovery so fantastic that it defies intuition and reason for so many people (and it seems particularly the exact set of people who ought to be validating his breakthrough now). I suppose it works in Rossi’s favor that his potential competition is so incredulous – they won’t get up to speed until Rossi has a big head start building his manufacturing company from the ground up.

      • Roger Bird says:

        I agree with you, Brad, 100%.

        There is this sort of co-efficient of credibility that has to get above 50% or the belief in something just won’t spread.

        If Ford Motor Company started saying that they had a car that could get 45 mpg, people would believe it. FMC has a lot of credibility. The jump to 45 mpg is not that great. If I told Terry she would believe it. If Terry told her husband, he would be believe it. And so on. Eventually everyone in society would be awaiting Ford’s release of their new high mpg car.

        If I (not much credibility) told you that I had a method that would cure most illnesses (credibility drops) that costs exactly nothing (credibility drops some more) that is 5000 years old (credibility goes up some, but with my creds so far down, my saying that it is 5000 years old is in doubt), belief in it will not spread.

        Rossi’s creds started out not so great; he had a history of trouble with the justice system. Cold Fusion could not be replicated and MIT wanted it to go away. So MIT used their cred capital to discredit cold fusion (this cred-chicken will come home to roost for MIT). So, cold fusion became discredited. Scientifically, it would have been impossible for Rossi to spread belief in his invention (assuming that he is not a crook in reality). The most credible thing in the world is to show people.

        If I had cancer, and I cured myself with my wondrous healing method, that would be very credible. This is what Rossi is going to do. But he has to be able to make enough money to show enough people to get enough credibility momentum to over come his own lack of credibility and MITs discrediting of him and the natural discrediting of cold fusions difficult to replicate early days and the huge credibility gap associated with the Coulomb Barrier.

  2. Peter Roe says:

    As you say, Ben, we are evidently reading the current situation rather differently, but then there wouldn’t be much point to these discussions if we agreed about absolutely everything 🙂

    The way I see things, the backlash we are beginning to see (which incidentally I’ve been predicting for some time on various blogs) is directly proportional to the level of noise being created around Ni-H fusion. This noise is premature, because there is not yet an industrial 1 Meg e-cat buyer who is prepared to confirm its reality, nor any smaller units yet available for puchase or even that can be demonstrated running.

    The only purpose of trying to go outside of the web with the news would be to try to engage the widest possible degree of awareness within the Fox News or BBC watching ‘masses’ (and the equivalents elsewhere). Unfortunately, while people like us may have seen enough to satisfy ourselves that Rossi is for real, the fact is that viewed rather more objectively the evidence is inconclusive, and in any case the whole thing could be demolished overnight by some concerted controlled-media propaganda playing on ‘safety issues’. Not only demolished, but turned on its head to portray e-cat technology as a dangerous ‘nuclear’ technology that must be controlled, and leaving the way clear to legislate against it as a way to lock it up permanently. The more successful supporters are in pushing awareness of the technology, the greater will be the backlash, and the fact is that ‘our side’ is not ready for this yet.

    If we force a ‘war’ at this point, then the opposition will win by either suppressing the technology again, or by legislating to ensure monopoly control by the precise corporate interests who otherwise stand to lose the most. This will happen anyway as soon as conclusive ‘proof’ is available or an attempt is made to offer domestic units for sale, but it cannot be countered without Ni-H fusion units that demonstrate the safety of the process by quietly doing what they are designed to do. Even then it will be touch and go – in my opinion there is simply no way that free and open access to e-cat technology is going to be permitted in the ‘West’. The best we can hope for is that it becomes a part of the power generation mix and so displaces nuclear fission, and then later – under pressure from competing states (BRICs) who introduce copycat technology – is eventually allowed to propogate under a burden of taxation that levels the playing field with other power sources (and just incidentally stuffs government coffers around the world).

    Regarding current (US) government interest, as you point out, we are already seeing what is happening to the various agencies and individuals who have taken a positive view, and I can’t see much purpose in trying to engage and ‘convert’ others to the cause – they would simply be rooted out or closed down. I don’t believe that there is much ‘difference of opinion’ within US government circles, only a tiny number who know at least some of the facts, the mass of functionaries who don’t know anything, and those (I’m thinking Mitt Romney) who have been briefed but don’t have the intellectual equipment to comprehend what it is they have been briefed on, but will follow orders anyway. Governments, and the US government in particular, are not in the business of providing any benefits to those who they supposedly represent, but only to those who fund the individuals who comprise said government (I’m not referring to taxes). The psychopaths at the very top have not the slightest interest in whether Ni-H will benefit ‘the people’ – only in following whatever path is dictated by their paymasters.

    Incidentally, I’m not convinced that the US military is the mysterious buyer. Rossi has said on several occasions that his ‘partner’ is assisting (possibly leading) the development of domestic units and power generators, and I’m not sure the military would be that interested in ensuring that we all have LENR domestic boilers on our walls by Christmas 2021. NI would be though, if they got a share of the royalties cake as well as making all the control systems.

    So, full circle really. If people are going to put time and effort into trying to increase public awareness before working e-cats are available for public inspection, or into attempting to prod government officials into action, they need to be clear on exactly what it is they are trying to achieve, beyond creating a few martyrs. They also need to be clear on the risks of taking such actions prematurely. Supposedly both open disclosure of a 1MW unit and release of commercial units are not far off. I believe that we must not endanger these developments by forcing the hand of those who would like to see the whole thing go away, and will try to use whatever tools are necessary to make this happen as soon as the threat becomes unmistakeable.

    • Peter Roe says:

      To the above I should add though that I am not advocating passivity – only suggesting that we do not unnecessarily pour petrol on the flames until we are in a position to control the resulting fire.

      All developments that indicate moves towards suppression should be immediately bought into the light of day and publicised as widely as possible. In particular I worry about propaganda aimed at surrounding LENR with fear, based on fake ‘safety issues’. The only sensible response to this will be to try to present the facts as best we can, as widely as possible. Inevitably though, that is a losing situation so long as it is not possible to point to working installations or units and say “so what’s the problem, then?”

    • Peter Roe says:

      If admin will allow it, I would like to post a link to an article by Peter Lindemann that seems relevant to these issues. It is at http://www.rense.com/general95/worldfre.htm and was recently posted on ecatnews.com by Steve W.

      BTW, Rossi has just posted a reply on his blog that indicates that he and his development partner have now made a breakthrough that will greatly reduce the cost of his next generation units. He describes this as “a titanic step forward”. I think the petrol will very soon be hitting the flames without any assistance from the watchers.

  3. Peter Roe says:

    I agree entirely with Brad Arnold. It seems to me that some of us (pro LENR observers) may still be stuck in an earlier phase when we thought that spreading the word in any way possible was desirable. That phase effectively ended as soon as Rossi engaged his corporate partner(s) National Instruments and it became clear that the word was out.

    At this stage we need to think about what it is that we are trying to achieve by contacting government officials and politicians, or pressing to get stories into ‘mainsteam’ media. Behind the scenes, commercial development by at least two parties is proceeding towards producing commercially viable products for the domestic market, as quickly as possible. What more do we want?

    Engaging the interest of top levels of government at this stage can only be counterproductive. R&D by government scientists would only be for the purposes of the military or related organisations, and certainly NOT for any kind of domestic benefit. The involvement of compromised politicians could only result in moves to protect vested interests and/or to generate massive revenue from LENR. Likewise, as soon as any positive reporting of LENR takes place in a genuinely mainstream publication or channel, a deluge of corporate controlled negative propaganda would be triggered, that the masses will swallow whole.

    In short, it seems best to simply keep quiet for now, without drawing unwelcome attention to what is happening before any products have hit the market. Let’s just step back and let Rossi, Defkalion and any other parties with a potentially viable product get on with it.

    The longer governments stay out of this, the better it is likely to turn out.

    • Ben says:

      Peter, you and I have agreed on quite a number of things over the last year but it doesn’t look like this is one of them. The idea that after nearly a year of announcing the coming of the e-Cat that everybody now try to hide in plain site and play possum seems rather preposterous. The same can be said about the idea that the government stay out of this. This is an unknown and still poorly understood nuclear reaction, do you really think the government, any government, is going to just ignore it?

      Also don’t make the mistake of thinking that there is a singular position being taken within the U.S. Government about this issue. The fact that members of NASA and the U.S. Navy’s SPAWAR have been working on this technology for many years, in spite of lack of support from many other quarters of government, indicates to me that there is some difference of opinion even in government circles about this technology. The belief that a military organization was the first customer for the 1MW plant would also highlight this rift as well as further enforce the notion that the government is not going to stay out of this. If the military was the first customer THEY ARE ALREADY INVOLVED!

      Look at Opdenaker’s e-mails. At one point he talks about confirming the reality of this technology with Bushnell and trying to tell others at the DOE about it…and then makes other statements about it “being too good to be true” and reiteration of the “official” position of the department. He is either very confused or trying to walk a tight political tight rope. I think it the latter.

      The backlash that you are trying to avoid with your approach has already begun. The cancellation of SPAWAR research, public criticism of NASA and Bushnell for even considering “cold fusion” and the appearance of an article by Dr. Peter Thieberger of Brookhaven National Laboratory rehashing decades old criticisms of “cold fusion” are all indications that some in the establishment are already pushing back against this. Also don’t forget Senator Boner’s (Boehner) continuing lobbying for the Keystone Pipeline and officials of the Canadian Government publicly being dismissive of cold fusion and insisting they plan on supplying their oil to the U.S. for many years to come.

      Now is not the time to sit back. There is not such a thing as a passive counterattack. Think of the three stages in the development of a new technology: 1) Ridicule; 2) Violent opposition, and 3) Acceptance. I think we are transitioning to the violent opposition stage and that can only be countered by continued activism, not be silence and passivity.
      I think that those in government, like Mr. Opdenaker, Senator Bruce Tarr of Massachusetts, senate candidate Randy Hekman of Michigan, Mitt Romney, Bushnell and his colleagues at NASA would all appreciate vocal public support for this technology. To be quiet now would be a disservice to those in government and those seeking to be in government who have already stuck their necks out.

      • NaN00 NaN00 says:

        Ben,I agree, this thing could still fall apart. But lets leave Mitt Romney out of it for obvious business reasons and also his comment:
        “I do believe in basic science. I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with – with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it.”
        Basically DEBUNKS the ECAT.
        Which IMO further supports your position.

  4. Jesse laird says:

    the only thing Dr. Rossi needs from the government is to get out of his way.

  5. Brad Arnold says:

    The pro-LENR community is putting the cart before the horse. Rossi tried that by holding public demonstrations of the E-Cat, and got largely ridicle for his trouble. Instead, the proper route is to first manufacture working LENR generators that are then sold to the public. Once it has been demonstrated that LENR can be commercialized sucessfully, it will be a simple matter of pointing this news to the mass media. The problem has been that LENR is an abstract (although a Earth shattering one), and people generally don’t react to abstracts. In essence, there is no news to report until those LENR generators from either Leonardo or Defkalion’s factories hit the shelves.

    I am convinced that those who are now excited by LENR are those who are able to image the abstractions of LENR – the herd will need concrete proof. Remember, half of Americans are functionally illiterate, meaning they can’t read and understand the front page of a newspaper. BTW, both Leonardo and Defkalion are planning on manufacturing tens of thousands of working LENR units in 2012, so we don’t have long to wait until LENR is the talk of the town!

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